Thursday, May 30, 2013

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Melissa and I grew up riding horses together. We always dreamed of running together on the beach just like they do in the movies. We finally were able to ride on the beach in San Diego a few years ago, but the lady would not let us run the horses. In the States you sign your life away when you go horseback riding and they never let you go very fast or even get out of single file line. I guess there's just so much liability that goes into it.

Well, not here in Costa Rica!

Melissa lined up a horseback riding tour for us through a guy named Cowboy Diego. He was a legit cowboy who owned a few horses and you just paid him to take you on a 2 hour ride to the beach. Emma went to a horse camp once so we figured she knew how to ride well enough.

We showed up (after getting turned around many times), he handed each of us a horse, and we were off. Emma was a bit rusty on how to ride so that was making me a bit nervous. Diego finally hooked a rope to her horse for a little bit until she got comfortable. Then we were turned loose to do whatever.

We ran up a hill to a house with a beautiful view of the beach

Emma and her horse named Rain
Melissa's horse named Sunset

And my horse named Cinderella...along with Cowboy Diego

And yes, we galloped together on the beach! Diego let us do whatever we wanted. I told Emma to soak up the experience because this was definitely once in a lifetime. We rode the horses into the water, chatted, laughed, and had the best time. We're so glad Melissa came to visit and we had tons of fun with her. What a great trip.

Ziplining Adventure

One day during our trip we went to a Butterfly Garden and Zipline Adventure. Melissa and I took the two older kids and Will stayed back at the hotel with Ally. Emma and I didn't get to go ziplining last year with Melissa and we were really looking forward to it. Emma had never been before and had an equal mix of terror and excitement going into it. We told her that she had to do this before leaving Costa Rica. Not many people can say they have ziplined through the jungle!

We toured the butterfly garden first

And next we all geared up 

Jack is a ziplining pro...he said he was the captain of our group

Ready to go

We had a bunch of young girls in our ziplining group and they loved Jack. They always wanted him to sit with them at lunch and on the bus and they even bought him a soda at the end (they bought one for Emma too). He loved every minute of the attention from them.

My girl's first time to go!

And here goes Jack 

I'm kind of freaked out, but can't show that in front of my kids

Next we had to hike up to the tree tops

We had a crazy guide

Loving every minute

We even rappelled down in some spots

This was the Tarzan Swing. It was up super high and really freaked us out. 

A little look of terror

Then a look of fun

So stinkin' high!

Poor Emma. She got really scared and I just held on to her right until it was time to go. She was so determined and brave. I was so proud of her.

Totally unsure...but she did it!

And was so happy she did!

I love Melissa's combo look of fear/excitement

I was just glad to be off that platform

Jack with no hands

Emma upside down

Silly kids with Melissa at the end.

What an unforgettable experience!

Another Melissa Trip

Our good friend Melissa came to visit us one more time before we leave Costa Rica. We went on a very busy "Melissa Trip" last year (as my kids called it), but I was pregnant and unable to do very much. This time we all went back to our favorite beach, Manuel Antonio, and decided to do some adventures there and stay in one location instead of traveling around. It was so beautiful and relaxing and a perfect last trip for us here.

We stayed at Costa Verde at an amazing house with lots of room for us to play and hang out. The hotel has a few restaurants that we enjoyed and we had our own private entrance to a pool. We even had tons of monkeys swinging over our heads while we swam. So cool/Kinda creepy.

The girls at Costa Verde

The view from our room


Our house

Side note: I can't believe I'm admitting to this, but Ally decided to become super active during this trip. She's really strong and quick, and rolled off the bed twice and off the concrete step once during this week. The poor girl has a few bruises on her head in this picture. Will finally got pretty upset at me by the third time. Do I really have three kids? What is wrong with me?

One day we hiked through the national park in Manuel Antonio. We ended up on the prettiest beach I've seen here in Costa Rica. 

The little girl loved hiking in her front pack! It was super hot so she was a naked baby most of the time and definitely enjoyed that.

Family of five

Melissa definitely knows how to plan a fun trip!

My beautiful girl

There were tons of crabs all over these rocks as the waves came in. The kids of course loved chasing them trying to catch them.

Iguanas all over the place

Emma holding a Walking Stick bug

I always wanted to see a sloth! Yay!


White-faced monkeys trying to swoop in for food

Biggest iguana I've ever seen

Baby girl in the sand for the first time

Cheese for the camera

the Pacific Ocean

But then she loved it

And loved the sand too. We just had to keep her from eating it!